Animal Planet Offers ‘Entertaining’ Slate

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Animal Planet has a slate for the 2008-2009 season that features entertainment-focused programming that will attempt to tap into people’s primal instincts with compelling stories, engaging characters and the innate drama of the natural world.

The new Animal Planet, which relaunched with an “Entertainment Has a New Face” brand campaign in February, has docusoaps, unscripted dramas, fantasy and comedy in the works for the new season, it announced at an upfront presentation in Los Angeles Tuesday.

Animal Planet's fresh roster includes programs that tell dramatic stories with a strong point of view, such as the new miniseries Whale Wars,  which follows the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as it use radical methods to eradicate alleged illegal whaling operations, and a new season of Escape to Chimp Eden,  in which chimp rescuer Eugene Cussons stops at nothing to pull the species from the brink of extinction.

Also, Animal Planet builds on its strategy of relating to animals as characters, not merely as creatures to observe, with a new season of Orangutan Island.  Last season, that approach to natural-history storytelling made a true impact on the lives of the orphaned orangutans of Borneo’s Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Reintroduction Project featured in the series. Viewers went online to adopt nearly 600 orangutans.

Predator expert Dave Salmoni will take viewers on a first-hand, intimate experience with the royalty of the jungle in the groundbreaking series A Year With Lions.

Brandon McMillan braves the Night to share the wonder, glory and sheer terror of nocturnal nature and all its animal activities.  And man’s best friend and frisky felines take center stage in the encyclopedic new series Dogs! and Cats!,  as well as in the heartwarming makeover and adoption series Stray to Hey.

Animal Planet will also premiere the highly stylized series Dark Days in Monkey City,, which uses live action and graphic novel-style animation to reveal the real-life drama of the gray langurs and toque macaques that are part of the Smithsonian Primate Project, the longest-running study of primates in the world.

In the high-definition miniseries Wild Russia, six HDTV camera teams filmed across 11 time zones in six diverse regions over several years to capture the biodiversity and wild spectacle of Russia.        

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